Why you need to follow healthy diet during COVID-19 crisis

April 21, 2020
Balanced diet

DURING this health crisis brought about by the coronavirus, many are already stressed and feeling anxious. The unexplained dilemma may lead to emotional or stress eating for other people.

No one should get sick during this crisis, the reason why the government is telling people to stay home to avoid infection.

According to the World Health Organization, people should observe a healthy diet while waiting for this COVID-19 to end. Doing so would save you from getting sick during lockdown period.

Here’s what you should do:

* Eat a variety of foods. Eat a combination of different foods, including staple foods (e.g. cereals such as wheat, barley, rye, maize or rice, or starchy tubers or roots such as potato, yam, taro or cassava), legumes (lentils, beans), vegetables, fruit and foods from animal sources (meat, fish, eggs and milk).

Eating a variety of whole (i.e. unprocessed) and fresh foods every day helps children and adults to obtain the right amounts of essential nutrients. It also helps them to avoid a diet that is high in sugars, fats and salt, which can lead to unhealthy weight gain (i.e. overweight and obesity) and noncommunicable diseases.

* Limit fats and oils. You may opt to use unsaturated vegetable oils (e.g. olive, soy, sunflower or corn oil) rather than animal fats or oils high in saturated fats (like butter, ghee, lard, coconut and palm oil)

Choose white meat (chicken) and fish, which are generally low in fats, in preference to red meat. Eat only limited amounts of processed meats because these are high in fat and salt and opt for low-fat or reduced fat versions of milk and dairy products.

Try to avoid processed, baked and fried foods that contain industrially produced trans-fat. These foods can be harmful to health when eaten in excessive amounts. Eating too much saturated fat and trans-fat could cause heart disease and stroke. Trans-fat may occur naturally in certain meat and milk products, but the industrially produced trans-fat (partially hydrogenated oils mostly seen in food labels) present in various processed foods is the main source.

* Limit salt and sugars. When cooking and preparing foods, limit the amount of salt and high-sodium condiments (soy sauce and fish sauce). Avoid foods that are high in salt and sugars. Limit intake of soft drinks or soda and other drinks that are high in sugars like fruit juices, cordials and syrups, flavored milks and yogurt drinks.

Choose fresh fruits instead of sweet snacks such as cookies, cakes and chocolate.

Remember, when your diet is always high in sodium (including salt), you have a greater risk of high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

People whose diets are high in sugars have a greater risk of becoming overweight or obese, and an increased risk of tooth decay. People who reduce the amount of sugars in their diet may also reduce their risk of noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

* Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit. For snacks, choose raw vegetables and fresh fruit, rather than foods that are high in sugars, fats or salt.

Avoid overcooking vegetables and fruit as this can lead to the loss of important vitamins

When using canned or dried vegetables and fruit, choose varieties without added salt and sugars.

Vegetables and fruit are important sources of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, plant protein and antioxidants. People whose diets are rich in vegetables and fruit have a significantly lower risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer.